By Limbani Nsapato

Education expert Limbani Nsapato weighs in on teachers’ risk allowances: journalists must exercise freedom with responsibility

MISA Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi have issued a joint statement in defense of Journalist George Kasakura and other reporters who went to town criticizing and ridiculing teachers for demanding protective gear and COVID 19 allowances when schools re-open.

While this is good and protective of their members I find the statement clearly biased against concerned teachers and TUM. Journalists have freedom, but they should also exercise the freedom with responsibility. Why should anyone or indeed government as an employer discriminate against teachers or other civil servants on issue of payment of risk allowances when such servants are also under threat of being exposed to the COVID 19 when schools reopen? Government has shown precedence by paying allowances to medical professionals, police and others whose Job puts them at risk of contracting COVID 19.

Teachers deserve equal treatment like the other civil servants. Most of them will be handling large classes when shoools reopen and so put themselves in danger of contracting the deadly virus. They need to be equipped with protective gear and be entitled to risk allowances.

With regard to the media, yes we should not condone direct attacks or violence against journalists. And any member of society including teachers who attack journalists and the media profession should be disciplined. On this front I stand with MISA and MCM.

However, journalists too should be disciplined and act within professional media ethics. And journalists are not immune to criticism or corrective action. Therefore, the joint statement was supposed to reprimand its members who expressed themselves on teachers unprofessionally. Both professions should act with discipline. We should not condone anyone ridiculing a teacher or a journalist.

The importance of teachers cannot be overemphasized. Journalists like other professionals are trained by teachers. Hence Journalists and other professionals are nothing without teachers. Everyone needs a teacher!! Even the President. If you can read this thank a teacher!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the MaraviPost

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